Making Lemonade


(By Charlie Sislen) Never has it been so difficult to generate new dollars as it is today. Uncertainty and changes in consumers’ lifestyles have marketers scrambling. Even for those that still need to get their message out, the question is, which advertising outlets are the most effective?

As the old adage says, “When life gives you lemons … make lemonade.” So what is our lemonade? Your stream.

For those groups, clusters, or individual stations that are not TLR (total line reporting), right now is an exceptional time to promote your stream. While anecdotal, we at Research Director, Inc. have been told that clients’ server logs have documented a big spike in streamed audio. This is not a surprise.

It could just be a balancing act. With the explosion of smart speakers, your listeners might just be substituting your terrestrial signal with your digital. The great news is that they are still listening, just via another source. Therefore, this is the place where your advertisers need to be right now. Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2020 showed the growth of streamed audio and that local radio is still the dominant choice.

While there’s a slight delay in receiving the Nielsen Audio PPM reports, server data is typically more immediate. Documenting the growth of your streamed audio, and presenting it properly to advertisers, can document the relevancy of your station to the community.

Sales have never been easy, especially with advertisers who presently are not using your station. However, by showing the value of your stream, you can entice them with a new opportunity. Also, because digital is sold on a served cost-per-thousand basis, an advertiser can try your station at a fraction of the cost of a regular broadcast schedule. Consider this as dipping their toe in the pool of your station’s marketing offerings.

Entice them with your stream, and when the economy rebounds they can expand their advertising budget to include your terrestrial outlet. Same environment, similar audience, just a different advertising model – one that is often more affordable than before.

Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.



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